Skip to main content

Full text of "Ravana The Great : King of Lanka"

See other formats

Publication No.5 

Havana The Great: King of Lanka 


M.S. Purtialingam Pillai 


This reprint is completely funded by a devoted band of 
Delhi Saivites. They choose to remain anonymous. We salute 
them. May their tribe increase. 

According to the hoaiy tradition, Ravana was a Rakshasa, 
a Biahmin-Rakshasa. He knew all the Vedas. His punctilious 
recitation of the Sama Veda so pleased Mahadeva Siva that He, 
not only, saved him from the crushing weight of Mount Kailash, 
but also bestowed on him boons of incalculable worth. The severe 
penance and austerities that he pursued with unexampled 
concentration earned for him siddhi-s galore. 

Ravana' s Lanka was more prosperous than Kubeia's 
Alakaapuri. Ravana, the benevolent despot, saw to it that all his 
subjects were absolutely happy. Kambar says that Hanuman was 
swept off his feet when he beheld the multifoliate splendour and 
the manifold grandeur of Sri Lanka. 

"In all the marmoreal mansions, in all the cool, serene, 
suaveolent and melliferous groves and elsewhere too, the citizens 
imbibed wine, and sang and danced jubilantly. All were soused 
in joy, and none there was who knew what misery was." - Oor 
thedu patalam, Verse 28. 

"Kalikkindraar alaal Kavalkindraarai-k-Kaanenn" are the 
wondrous words of Kambar' s Hanuman. This is proof positive of 
the fact that Ravana' s was obviously the best of governments the 
world has ever seea Macaulay, the nineteenth century legislator 
says: "That is the best government which desires to make the 
people happy, and knows how to make them happy." [- Milford's 
History of Greece.] The commitment and devotion of the Lankans 
to their Sovereign was total, complete and absolute. They 
willingly gave up their life for their monarch when the occasion 

o by the same nam r lva " ^ town and the 


were huge as 


ten venses will be suffilsw ^ s of ^ that hail these 


s life to 
to us the 


to include 

feature, in hi 



- He was ffiends 
a ggression is 

ore useful. 


became Magnilanrup. He published in English twenty seven 
works, they being (1) Studies And Critiques, (2) Primer of Tamil 
Literature, (3) The Madras University Papers on Shakespeare's 
Plays, (4) Songs and Sonnets from Shakespeare, (5) Stories from 
Goldsmith, (6) Abbot Samson (Abridged with Introduction and 
Glossary), (7) Tamil India, (8) Ravana the Great: King of Lanka, 
(9) Analysis of English Literature, (10) The Ten Tamil Saints, 
(1 1) A Digest of Roman Law, (12) An Epitome of Jurisprudence 
and Maine's Ancient Law, (13) The Contract Act, (14) Abstract 
of Maine's Ancient Law, (15) Specific Relief Act, (16) Exercises 
inEnglish, (17) A Book of Conversations, (18) The Matriculation 
Reader, (19) The Pre-Matriculation Reader, (20) Ripon Readers, 
(21) Selections in English Poetry, (22) Miscellaneous Essays,' 
(23) History of India, (24) History of England, (25) Socretes and 
Plato and Evolutional Ethics, (26) Julius Caesar - with 
Production and full notes and (27) Othello - with Introduction 
and full notes. Sixteen are his works in Tamil, they being 
;i) Awai Kural, (2) Seyyul Kovai, (3) Viveka Vilakkata. 
;4) Vaasaka Tirattu, (5) Witty Stories, (6) Navaraathri Lectures, 
7) Two Short Stories, (8) Surapadman, (9) The European War^ 
10) Kamatchi, (11) Panniru Penmanigal, (12) Kathai and 
Carpanai, (13) ThappiH, (14) Vairamani Malai, (}5) Tamils and 
ramil Poets and (16) Tamil Essays or Sitrurais. 

The Tamil University reprinted Pillai's TAMIL 
JTERATURE in 1985. Our Sangkam has now come forward 
vithareprint of Ravana the Great: King of Lanka, to mark Pillai's 
30th birth anniversary. May lovers of Tamil come forward to 
eprint the other works of Pillai. 

i June 1996 Sekkizhaar Adi-p-Podi 

"hanjavur. T,N. Ramachandran. 

Ravana The Great: 





Emeritus Professor of English, Bishop 

Heber College, Trichinopoly, and Author 

of Tamil India, Ten Tamil Saints, etc. 


Tinnevelly District. 

Dedicated /o 

T. P. Ponnambalam Pillai Av!., M.R.A.S. 

Retired Excise Commissioner, 
Travancore, now residing at Sivasailam, 
Alvarkiirichi Post, Ti intercity District, 

As a token of the Author's regard and esteem 

for him 
as a pioneer researcher in the epic of Rama- 


and vindicator of the greatness of Havana, 
the illustrious King of Lanka. 



Foreword . .. 

. . - i u 
some opinions 


L Lanka ,... 2 7 

II. Rakshas .... g , 

HI. Lineage .... "' 14 __ 18 

IV. Learning and Piety .... 19__ 22 

V. Marriage and Progeny 2531 
VI Exploits .... ... 32 _3 9 

VII. Government .... 40-45 

VIII. War in Lanka .... .... 46 __ 58 

IX. Death and Funeral .... 59_63 

X. Character .... "" 64 __ ?2 

XI. Conclusion 70 170 

.... /d /8 

Appendix .... ^ 7984 
List of Books .... 


The Cynical review of the ' Tamil India 
by the Reader of the Madras Mail under the 
glaring head-line Tamilians I Excelsior ! has 
only confirmed the author's statements in his 
Foreword to that book. Everybody knows 
that the time has not arrived for writing a 
history of South India and that the materials 
available for it are not only not enough but 
scattered over a wide area. The ' Tamil 
India *, which does not lay claim to much 
originality, has, as The Indian Daily Mail of 
Bombay has put it, attempted to bring the 
available materials together under certain 
heads with a view to facilitate the work of the 
future historian. The aerial car, or the 
aeroplane was unimaginable to the ordinary 
Britisher of some thirty years back though it 
had been known to the Tamil Indian in the 
form of * mair-porri ' or the c Peacock Engine 
and Pushpaka Vimanam or the Flowery Car 
"twenty centuries ago. The live frog under the 
rock is a toocommonillustration of the mysteri- 
ous divine governance, among the Tamilians, 
though it might have come within the purview 
of a few earnest gelogists. Telepathy, Glair- 


voyancc, Clairaudience 3 et hoc genus 
have in quite recent times claimed the 
serious thought and attention of the greatest 
scientists of the west. If the hasty Reader, who 
has professed himself to be a highly discerning 
critic and to be endowed with the indispens- 
able technique of the proverbial Indian 
4 annam f or swan, should chance to come 
across this little book, he would certainly play 
to the gallery with the blazing head-line 
Rakshas I Excelsior I It is hard to expect that 
men who have moved in particular grooves 
for years will ever easily get out of 
them or that the deep-footed prejudices 
consecrated by time and circumstances will- 
die an easy death. The much-maligned 
Ravana of the earliest Aryan Chronicler and 
purana writer and of the thoughtless Dravi- 
dian echoer of subsequent times cannot have 
his merits and virtues ^duly recognised until 
English education, now pursued merely as 
bread-study, broadens and liberalises the 
cramped and idola-obsessed Indian mind. a 
wipes out his slave mentality altogether 
this bpoklet will provoke thought cm. 
subject, its author will feel amply repai'ettor 
his labours. 


1. The Hindu, Nov. 2, 1927 ."....One 
cannot but admit that the book contains much 
original matter and embodies considerable 

research work The book is a primer fit to 

be placed in the hands of every one who 
would like to learn about the ancient Tamils, 
their characteristic qualities, their language 
and literature, their philosophy and religion, 
their social life, their commercial enterprises, 
ihcir politics and modes of warfare, their 
knowledge of the. arts and the sciences, and 
their education in general. As frontispiece 
we have three maps showing the Southern 
Continent and India as they were (1) before 
the 'Puranic deluge, (2) after the deluge, and 
(3) in the first century A. D." 

2. The Madras Mail, Dec. 19, 1927: 

tfi The. author has done a great deal of reading 
and is conversant wjth many works in the field 
of his investigation.** 

3. The Daily Indian Mail, Dec;. 4, 
1927 : "....Mr. Purnalingain Pillai has- in his 
book Tamil India put together a number of 


ideas which may serve as notes for the future 
historian of the Tamil race....The author's 
knowledge of Tamil has enabled him to cull 
quotations from ancient Tamil authors aboot 
Tamil arts, sciences and philosophy.'* 

4. The United India and Indian States? 
Jan. 14, 1928 : "....Mr. PurnaHngam Pillai 
shows, on the strength of reliable recorded 
evidence, the antiquity and the grandeur of the 
Tamilian Civilisation, greater and more 
ancient than the Babylonian or Egyptian or 
even the ancient Aryan culture of North 

India.. ..It is a consolation to learn that, in the 

interchange of culture that makes the world*? 

progress, 'Tamil India* has exerted a wide- 

spread and vital influence....** 

5. The Mysore Economic Journal?* 
"....Mr. Purnalingam Pillai has at great pains 
done his mite to dispel the veil that shrouds 
the origin and antiquity of Tamil culture 
Tamil Language and Literature, Warfare 
Polity, Medicine and Philosophy are some o: 
the subjects which come under the author*! 

observation and analysis This book make! 

a bold effort to elucidate the tangled skein o 
ancient Tamil culture.. ..Readers would d< 
well to buy this book and know something o 
ancient Tamilians quite profitably....** 


6. The Hon'ble P. Eamanailian r 
K.B.,C.M.G.,of Colombo, March 1928: 
"I tliank you for the copy of your Tamil 
India. I have read it. It contains many 
things of interest to the general reader...." 

7. Mr. A. Muthiah Pillai, B A., B.L. r 
Vakil, and Secretary, Saiva Sabah, Palam- 
cottah, Jan. 24, 1928:"! sincerely think 
that your Tamil India will be a valuable 
addition to the Sabah Library, and request 
you to send a copy for the said Library/* 

8. Mr. Vishvanath V. Somasiuldram r 
Hon. Secretary, the Colombo Hindu Dhanna 
Samaj, Feb. 22, 1928:" I shall, esteem it a 
great 'favour if you will oblige us by sending 
a copy of your- valuable book * Tamil India * 
at half-rate to our Free Reading Room by 
V. P. P. at your earliest convenience." 

9. Mudaliyar C- Animugam^ Supreme 
Court, Colombo, Feb. 9, 1928 : " Kindly send 
me 2 copies of Tamil India, of which excellent 
book you are the distinguished author." 

10. Mr. N. V. Viswalingam, Kuala 
Lumpur, Dec. 8, 1927 : " Thanks for the two 
copies of your book ' Tamil India * which 
have duly reached me. I enclose herewith a 
Postal order for seven shillings arid six pence 



: _y oui k f 

*JJLy JLt/^ 

For the present I shall 
them bv V P P ** 

J *.' A . 

s s m 

European , nendsto tn<JW - 

hke a chaHenge to Miss M ay o's !,/' 





Lanka, this utmost Indian isle', was in 
S ^ P rti0n f the main ^d of 

man d of 

ia It was known as Ilankai, a pr 
Tamil-ahan, (Vide Ma p I.) Sifted 
the > Kuman and Pahruli rivers, it was 
watered region and a prosperous 

erous cou 
When tfae-secopd great deluge took place a 


near the mou th of the Than Porunaor 
Tambraparni, and it was knowntothe Greek- 
T3pr bane '* " S k the isfe c 

r**t*F7f, ^n e island forest) Ch '" v ' ier * *or its wealth Dibura. 


In later times it was called Serendib, a 
corruption not of Sinhaladwipa, but of 
Cheran-divu, and Sirinduil. The name Ceylon 
has been variously accounted for : some say 
that it is a variant of Sinhalon or Singalam or 
wild cinnamon bark t while others affirm that 
it is Silan or Zeylan, which, in ancient Tamil, 
signified tengu or <:ocoantit palm.* 

Whatever the origin or derivation of the 
name, there is no doubt that it is an isle 'of 
palms. It is mpiintainous or hilly with glens 
and glades in the south and sandy and shoaly 
in the north. It bears a close resemblance to 
the eastern shore of Travancore in its abund- 
ance of feathery cocoas, and of streams and 
streamlets, in the nature of its soil, which is 
more or less sulphurous, and in its climate and 
seasons. Lanka continues to b.e 'gay and 
green and glorious like the garden of the 
sky,' and 'golden and flower-bespangled like 
the gem-bespangled sea*. It was once called 

fVide Sea-Tamil, 1913. 'Lanka and the Tamil Sangams 1 . 

""The island of Tengu or cocoanut is Seeylon, which was so 
named from Silon in Malay and very ancient Tamil meaning 
cocoanuts," Nor is the island of Ceylon, against which the expe> 
dmon of Rama was directed, called Taprobane or Tararmparai 
or Palesimundu, or Palisimanta, names anterior bv some 
centuries to the Christian era. Nor is it even called by the 
came of Sinhala, (Seat of Lions) which name is connected with 
the occupation of the island by Vijaya, several centuries before 
our era. The name which Ceylon bears in the Ramayana is 
always the primitive, the most ancient Lanka. 11 (Griffith) 


' Ratna* or * Swarna * Bhumi for its pearls, 
gems and gold. 

Lanka was also the name of the City of 
Ravana. It was securely built by the divine 
architect on the summit of -Tirikuta: it was a 
hundred leagues long and twenty wide. It 
had stately domes and tall turrets, encircled by 
a wall built of blocks of gold, and by moats 
whose waters were bright with lily blossoms. 
The stately mansions rose like pale-hued 
clouds in the autumn skies ; there were streets 
broad and bright, gates rich with the sheen 
of burnished gold and guarded by many a 
Raksha sentinel, and banners waved on every, 
height* 'The courts were inlaid with turkisesj 
and there were rows of crystal stairs and 
porticoes. The broad imperial street was 
bright and sweet with fresh blown flowers. 
The houses were decorated with varied orna- 
ments, and about their crystal columns hung 
leaves and blossoms deftly strung together. 
The lords had their homes about the court, 
and the imperial palace, guarded by dames 
and the female retinue, .armed with sword and 
spear and mace, had picture-halls and green 
bowers and lovely chambers and latticed, 
windows bright with turkis - and lazulite- Its 
polished floors were spread with fresh white 


and red buds and blossoms. In the spacious 
balls were lances, and bows, and shells, in 
fair array. Everywhere the softest carpets 
were spread, which were delightful to the 
sight and tread. The Jadies bowers were 
supported by golden pillars, over which there 
were jewelled arches. The banquet-hall of 
the palace had rows of gold plates loaded 
with dainties of the earth, sea and air, and of 
cups wrought of gold, inwrought-wffh gems. 
The royal dormitory had a crystal dais on 
which were golden couches and over which 
was a canopy famous for its artistry. Near 
the palace were lovely lakes full of lilies and 
lotuses.. The palace looked so glorious that 
it matched in show an eaithly paradise. The 
City of Lanka was, on the whole, 

*' A lovely city planned and decked 
By heaven's creative architect, 
Fairest of earthly cities meet 
To be the Gods' celestial seat, 

A glorious city fair to see 
As Indra's Amravati; 
A towering height of solid wall, 
Flashing afar, surrounds it all ; 

Its golden courts enchant the sight, 
And gates aglow with lazulite ; 
Steeds, elephants, and cars are there, 
And drums' loud music fills the air. 


oth . r 

, rock to check the foe. 

a nmce vv!ith irQn head " 


He golden ramparts wide -and high 
With nmssy strengtfa 

Where jnner wa]Js their ricfa ^ 
Of coral turkis, pearl disp]ay> y 
Her archng moats are broad and deep 
Where ravening monsters dart and Jeap 

Unnumbered hosts o f gi j t f ^ 
Andm astersofeach J 

The threatening pike andswod 


The City of Lanka is surmised to be the 
present Kandy, which is the very centre of 
Ceylon, beautiful with many fine temples and 
tombs and which was the metropolis of a 
dynasty of Kings for years. 

'^Some say that the city was lost in the 
ocean, the city of " Lanka, girt by boundless 
ocean, is of royal towns the best, seated in 
her pride and glory on a mountain's towering 
crest "(Dtttt). 

Ceylon, or -the Isle of Palms, is a pear- 
shaped -island, 271'5 miles long 'and 137'5 
miles wide, about half the size of England. 
The Sirigalar are the aborigines of the island. 
The Sinhalese, occupying the south, are said 
to have immigrated from Bengal about 600 
B-.C., and the Tamils, found in the north-, i.e., 
Jaffna or Yal-panam, were immigrants 3000 
years ago from the three east-coast districts 
of South India, viz. Tanjore, Madura and 
Ramnad, Now, the capital of the island is 
Colombo, one of its large harbours, and the 
meeting place of many a nation of the world. 



Who were the Rakshas ? The Aryan poet 
has described the aborigines of Lanka as 
Rakshas ? as monsters, demons and canni- 
bals, with that contempt which has marked 
civilized conquerors in all ages/ " Raksbasas, 
according to .the popular Indian belief, are 
malignant beings, demons of- many shapes , 
terrible and cruel, who disturb the sacrifices 
and the religious rites of the Brahmahs. It 
appears indubitable that the poet of the 
Ramayan applied the hated name of Raksfaa- 
sas to an abhorred and hostile people and that 
this denomination is* here rather an expression 
of hatred and 'horror than a real historical 
name** (Griffith Introduction to Ramayana.) 
The Aryans called themselves Gods, Suras,, 
Yakshas, and their foes Asiirar, Arakkar; 
Rakshasas, Nisa-sarar,. Niruthar and so forth, 
Both were supermen, the former by the force 
of their penance and the latter by their strong 
constitution and physical prowess, The Aryan 
ascetics, not 'necessarily Brahmins, served as 
pioneers and spies against the Non Aryans, 
whose forests they occupied- without per- 


mission of their own accord whom 

to- eradicate they attempted with the aid of 
kings who were, powerful master-archers. The 
owners of Lanka and of the Dandaka forest 
including Janasthanara were the so-called 
Raksfct King Ravana, his predecessors, his 
sister as Vicerene, and his cousins, who were 
Viceroy and General respectively. 

Who were the Rakshas ? They were of 
different clans, who had different status, and 
their main duty -was protection. They were 
iniact wardens of the legions they lived in. 
They were owners of estates or kingdoms and 
kavalgars who protected the peace-loving 
people against the depredations of robbers,, 
pillagers and plunderers. They were in colour 
and complexion black, as opposed to the 
Aryans who were bright or fair in .colour and 
features. "' It .(the Ramayan) represents the 
Rakshas as black of hue, and compares them 
with black clouds and masses of black colly- 
rium ; it attributes to them curly -woolly hair 
and thick lips, if depicts them as loaded with 
chains, collars, and girdles of gold, and the 
.other bright ornaments which their race has 
always loved, and in which the kindred races 
of the Soudan'still delight It describes them 
as worshiooers of matter and force. They are 


hostle to the religion of the Aryans, whose 
rites and sacrifices they disturb and ruin.** 
They were called night-rangers or rovers, be- 
cause they patrolled at night. They were 
probably the ancestors of the Maravars, who 
are now either Zamindars and owners of large 
estates or protectors of people's lives and pro- 
perty, who claim and levy rates as suthan-- 
thiram or right and privilege. They formed 
the troops and body-guards of kings and 
fought valiantly for their kings and coun- 
try. They were .a hardy race of ' Titans. 
" Ravan-a and- his tribe of Rakshas belonged 
to the human race and, in all probability, 
to the Marava community of the present 
day,, thus forming a section of the Dra'vi- 
dians ; and Ravana was the highest and the 
noblest specimen of humanity of his time. . . 
Even according to the mythological accounts 
of the .Aryans, when Brahma (God) created 
water and men to guard it, the latter said 
rakshanam, c we will protect.* Raksha was 
a man and he was created* to be the 
guardian of property. In Southern India 
there is a class of stalwart dark-complexioned 
people called Maravars, meaning heroes, 
breathing martial spirit and always in search 
of adventures, and of whom everv DraviHian 


has reasons to feel proud (notwithstanding the 
bad habits into which some of them have 
fallen of late). , . -They not only formed the 
fighting strength of the early sovereigns, but 
were also engaged in policing - the country in 
peaceful times, besides -being rulers of pro- 
vinces. From a certain noble duty they had 
to perform, and that during nights, the Aryans 
chose to nickname them and add. a reproach 
to it." (T.P.P.). Kamban has lines like the 
following in various places : 

LD/T (bpStvn LD,T)SUlt " _ 

LJUL^6QL* 62 > 

u Such was the horror with which these 
aborigines inspired the Aryan Hindus that 
their always exuberant fancy transformed 
them into a race of cannibal giants, fiends, 
and wizards, possessed of supernatural powers 
and every evil, all that magic can lend, even 
to that of flying through space and assuming 
any form at willthus transferring to them 
the attributes of the old Vedic cloud-demons 
whose place they took in the classical mytho- 
logy of the race. These Rakshasas, whose 



an< ! murderous 

counter -Parf-r possibly th 







.RAfCSHAS . 13 

.to the Devas, their foes. Ravana recovered 
it and the Rakshas occupied it once again. 
The Rakshas were a civilised race. They 
had cities and forts, palaces and parks, dan-' 
cing halls and theatres, stables and chariot- 
houses. They sang solemn morning-, hymns 
of prayer and praise, and their priests were 
skilled in rite aad ritual and knew the Vedas 
and their six Angas-r~l Siksha, the science 
of articulation and pronunciation, 2 Chandas, 
metre, 3 Vyakarana, grammar, 4 Nirukta, 
explanation of difficult words .in the Vedas, 5 
Jyotisha, astronomy or the Vedic calendar, 
and 6 Kalpa ceremonial (Vide Book V, C. 18 
of Valmiki's Mamayana). 

" Towards the southern extremity and in 
the island of Lanka (Ceylon) there existed 
undoubtedly a black and ferocious race, averse 
to the Aryans and hostile to their mode of 
worship, their ramifications extended through 
the islands of the Archipelago, and some traces 
of them remain in Java to this day " (Signor 
Gorresio's Preface to his last arid tenth volume 
of the Ramayana, translated into English by 


Vayu and Soma or Chandra. PuLstiaWon 
was Visravasu, and his son *as Kuvera T he * 

, Vidyu, and 




"3 2 







. 5 


races, the founders of two great dynasties 
Yaksha had two sons Heti and Pra-het: 
Heti had a son Vidyutkesan by^Payayai, 'siste 
of Kalan ; Vidyutkesan married Sala Kadan 
kadai and they begot Sukesan. Sukesan tool 
to wife Devavati and begot three sons Malya 
van, Sumali, and Mali. Malyavan marriec 
Sundari and had many children by her, oj 
whom Kalan, Durrnukan, Virupakshan etc. 
were well-known. Sumali's children by 
Kethumathi alias Vanasa-Vilochanai were 
a host of sons and daughters, of whom 
Prahatthan, Dandakan, Dumrakshan, Kaikesi, 
Pushpothkadai and Kumbi-nasi were well- 
known. Mali married Vasuthai, and their 
children were Nilan, Analan, Haran, Samba- 
pathi, and others. 


1 ( 

Heti Pra-heti. 



Sukesan m Devavati 

Malyavan Sumali Mali 


Daughter-Kaikasi , 
wife of Visrava and mnftip.r nf 





g 1-9 II 

c?j j* c 2 **t 

> . *S ,^ 



2 *- c " 
~ c *5 
_. g >>^4 tt 


three Rakshas, Malayavan, Sumli and 
Mali, oppressed the Aryan ascetics (Gods) 
tt'ho resorted to Mahadeva for aid. Mahadeva's 

R^T K Wa H SUkCSa ' thefather ^ ^ three 
Raksha brothers, and he, therefore, advised 
the ascetics to pray to Vishnu. . Vishnu pro- 


mised to slay their enemies. A battle ensue* 
between the champion of the god-like ascetic 
and the Rakshas. The latter jwere . defeated 
and Mali was slain. Malyavan renewed th 
contest in vain. The vanquished lived h 
Pathala or the nether regions and awaitec 
an opportunity for regaining their state anc 
power. It came in the days of Ravana, grand- 
son of Sumali by his daughter Kekasi. 

It will now be clear that Ravana was a 
grandson of Pulastia on the paternal side and 
a grandson of Sumali. on the maternal side 
and that there was a commingling of the 
Yaksha and Raksha blood in his veins. In 
Book V Canto xxiii the Demons describe to 
Sita Ravana f s noble descent : 

J * One so strong and great, Pulastya's son, 
Pulastya thus have sages told 
Is mid the Lords x>f Life enrolled. 
Lord Brahma's mind-born son was he, 
Fourth of that glorious company. 
Visravas from Pulastya sprang, 
Through all the worlds his glory rang. 
And of Visravas' large-eyed dame 
Our King the mighty Ravan came." 



We have already referred to the Rakshas 
as well versed in the Vedas and their Angas and 
in, Vedic ritual ? and also tp their matins or morn- 
ing prayers. There are numerous passages 
in the Tamil classics pointing to Ravana, who 
was not only skilled in arms as became the 
lord of Lanka but richly endowed with holy 
love. c Maraikal ore ayiram yan vallane * i.e. 
4 1 am a past master in a thousand marais.* 
So said he to Mayan, his would-be father- 
,in-law, when the latter, pleased with his form 
and beauty, asked him who he was, and to 
what family he belonged, with a view to choose 
him as his daughter's husband. * He knew by 
heart Rik and Samam and sang them, when 
occasions needed, in a touching, pathetic or 
melting manner. St. Appar has in his Tiru- 
marais verses alluding to this fact Vide I, 
34 'Irukkisaikal pada', 1, 43. 'Kannalin* githarii 
pada', 1, 49. 'Veda Githangal pada', I 70 'patthu 
voi gitam pada*. I 78 'thuttanai thuttu-thirthir 
chuvai-pada-Githam ketta*, II. 31 'Githa- 
kinnaram pada*. Similarly has St. Jnana 
Sambandhar referred to him as 'versed in 


Vedas and in learning*. In his Tirumurais. 
these verses exemplify it 11-92. * Sama veda- 
more Githa mofhia Dasamukan V Havana 
was a worshipper of Siva who taught him the 
Five Letters. IH-119, ' Anjelutth-uraikka 

Arulinan \ Though a Titan of Titans, he never 


relied on himself as the Lord of Hosts, but on 
the efficacy of the boons offered to him. 
His piety is patent in St. 110 of Ravanan-vathai- 
padalam. It is said that, before he aimed his 
dart or used his missile, he worshipped Isa in 
his usual manner and performed puja. " Piisa- 
Isanai-tholuthu. " By his austerities and 
penances'for years he obtained' boons from 
Siva, as longevity f and a broad bright sword,, 
which gave him victory. 11-54 t mukkodi 
vanal*, 141 ' valodu nal avarkku arul seitha \ 
An instance of the severity of his penance may 
be cited here. When Ravana promised his 
mother to equal his brother Kuvera in splen- 
dour; he went to the hermitage ctf Gokarna or 
''the Cow-Ear 9 in the Kerala country in 
company with his brothers and performed 
austerity. After a long penance he plucked 
his heads one after another, so goes the legend, 
and threw them into the fire. When he was 
about to do it the tenth time, Brahma appeared 


and offered him three great boons, 

indestructibility by all creatures above or 

more powerful than man, recovery of his lost 

heads, and power to assume any shape he 

pleased, like Milton's spirits or fallen angels. 

He was so learned that he seldom acted with- 

out consulting wisdom. II, 3. 'Vif thakap-padai- 

valla arakkan. 9 He knew the- arts of peace and 

w&r. He was proficient in music, vocal and 

instrumental. The six-stringed yal was his 

forte. With it made of his own nerves he 

pleased God Siva and won His Mercy and 

Grace, " Tham-aratthal pora-thakai kol val 

padai, Kamarathal Sivan Karatthu Vanginan, " 

St. 160 of the same Ravana-vathai-padalam. 

It means that the grant of the sword (weapon), 

which was so sharp and keen that it pould 

not bear filing, was made by Siva with his 

own hands on hearing his sweet strains or 

Kamara. He was so expert a musician that he 

had a yal or Veenai inscribed on his flag, and 

hence poets have described him as i Veenai 

Kodiyone,' or the possessor of the flag with 

the figure of the yal inscribed on it 

a Eluthu-veenai-kol-enthu-pathakai-m41, i.e., 

over the lofty banner which bore the painted 

symbol of the lute. (Stanza 21) and " Kodiyin- 

melurai veenai " i.e. the lute inscribed on the 


high flag or standard (St. 34) Ibid. The onl; 
person who is alleged to have excelled him i\ 
music (and magic) was the Sage Agastya 
A jcnusical treatise by Ravana, entitlec 
' Ravaneeyam :*,' or the great Charmer i: 
celebrated even to-day, and another, callec 
c Ravana-bet,* or ' Ravana-patthiam * was com 
piled in later times, probably in comme 
moration of his unique attainments in thai 
soul-subduing as well as soul-stirring art 



In the Chapter on Lineage or Pedigree, 
it has been shown that Ravana, Kumbakarna, 
Surpanaka, and Vibishana were the four 
children of Visrava(su) by Kekasi, daughter of 
Sumali, a Raksha King. The eldest was 
Ravana, (so-named from the cry-rava-uttered 
by him in his Kailasa exploit) * the mighty 
monarch of Lanka, and a great conqueror of 
worlds. He was tall as a mountain peak, his 
eyes were copper-coloured, and his teeth were 
Bright like the moon. " His body bore the 
impress of wounds inflicted by all the divine 
arms in his warfare with the gods (Supermen). 
It was scarred by th'e thunderbolt of Jndra, 
by the tusks of Indra's elephant, Airavatha, 
arid by the discus of Vishnu." As the lord 
of th.e utmost Indian isle, or Ilankai before its 
separation, he was known as Thennavan. 

One day when Ravana went a-hunfing, 
he came across a maiden, buxom, fair and 
debonair. She was the princess Mandothari, 

* St. Appar 111-79 : ' u0{ 
G? LL<fiu uffiis 
St. 10, 1.3. 


daughter of Mayan, who was the ruler oi 

M n an n an ^ Chitect of ^nderful skill, 
* J) *"- * Mayavi and 


" The chief artificer in place 
Was he of all the Danav race. 

He for a thousand years endured 
The sternest psnance, and secured 
From Brahma of all boons the best, 
The knowledge Usanas* possessed, 
Lord, by that boon, of all his will 
He fashioned all With perfect skill." 

Bk. IV, C. 51. 

_ The beauty of her youthful face beamed a 
soft glory through the place, and you 
Havana fefl in love with her" She became hf 
favounte queen, < R avan . s firsf ^ ^ 

> < . 

s favour. St. Manikkavachakar 


tth st Q 
Vartthai, St. 5 in this strain : 


They lived happily as Indra and Sachi, 
a-nd their son was Meghanadha or the Roaring 
Cloud, who was afterwards called Indrajit for 
his victory over the sovereign of tne skies. 

In Kamban's Ramayana, or rather in 
Otta-Koothan's Uttara-Kanda, the father of 
this bewitching queen who was pleased with 
tjhe handsomeness and juvenescence of Ravana 
asked the young man who he was, and what 
his ancestry,, before he could make them man 
and wife. Lest he should be thought rude 
and uncivilised, he said that it was very hard 
to find suitable matches for the reason that 
the kith and kin of the spouses held different 
views on the choice of husbands. The 
members of the family of the bride desire 
that the bridegroom should be equal in birth 
and status to the bride ; the father of the bride 
cares for intellectual breadth and moral 
height in the young man ; her mother hankers 
after . riches and broad acres ; and the bride 
herself wishes that her sweetheart should be 
young and handsome. The possession in full 
of all the qualifications handsomeness, youth- 
hood, high culture, virtue and vast wealth by 


any single individual is very rare, and t] - 

conclusion is that, as in the absence of ai r 

one of them, fault will be found with tl j 

choice to bear a fair young maiden is vei r 

mjserable. Vide Stanzas 60 an d 61 , f 
Ravanan's Pirappu Padalam. 

>B*>fgleBr ^/i^j-." (60) 


meant tJ-o+ T, A vpcraoie. it 



were great warriors. Athikayan and Akshan 
were two of them. Athikayan, tall of 
stature, wielded his arms powerfully, and 
Akshan, the youthful, brandished his bow,, 
till they fell in battle. The names of three 
more sons are mentioned " in the epic : 
Narantakan, Devantakan, and TL isiras (proba- 
bly the ruler of the regions about Trichinopoly 
or Thiri-sira-palli). His brother was^the huge 
Kumbakarnan, who vied in mighfwith Indra, 
the ruler of the skies. Neither Indra nor 
Varuna equalled him in his strength. He was 
the strongest of the Raksha warriors and 
stoutest-hearted midst the brave ; he was 
stalwart, stout and tall like^ a mountain's 
beetling turret. The legend about him runs 
as follows : When Brahma was about to 
offer him a boon in appreciation of his penance, 
the gods interposed and begged that, under 
the guise of a boon, stupefaction might be 
inflicted on him. Brahma thought of Saras- 
wati, who appeared, and, who, by his com- 
mand, entered into Kumbakarna's mouth that 
she might speak for him. Under her influence 
the Titan desired sleep for months together 
and became a veritable Rip Von Winkle. 
When he recovered his consciousness, he 
oerceived the trick but could not helo it. 


He ate much and quaffed plenty and sank 
in slumbers for six months at a stretch, with 
an interval of a single waking day every yean 

"He slumbering, free from pare and pain, 
By Brahma's curse, for months has lain," 
"Strong Kumbakarna slumbering deep 
In. chains of never-ending sleep.*' 

He had to be roused from his drowsiness 
with war-drums thundering on all sides. 
His wife was Vachra swalai, who begot 
Kumbani, and Kumban. 

The youngest, of the male trio was Vibi- 
shanan, the reputed wise man. The Satvic 
quality is said to have reigned supreme in him. 
It is said that Truth and Virtue took prece- 
dence in . his heart, and he counselled his 
brother and monarch against unrighteousness. 
Indrajit called him ' Traitor to thy king and 
kinsman, false to usjn direst need/ He took 
to wife, Sarabai, daughter of Kai Dushanan, 
the Gandharva chieftain. Brahma offered 
him immortality in addition to virtue. 
Vibishana is praised as possessing * the 
duteous mind, In needs unlike his giant 
kind.* There is reason to surmise from the 
paucity of the mention of any heirs of his to 
the throne of Lanka upon which the righte- 


ous Raksha was installed by Rama ' that he 
was childless. He is dubbed or canonised 
as an Alwar by the Rama-devotees or 
Vaishiiaryites. "The greatest of traitors, 
whom every Dravidian that has in him a 
spark of patriotism ought to execrate has 
been raised to the status and dignity of an 
Alwar" (T. P. R) ' 

Their only sister was Surpanaka, with 
* nails like winnowing fans/ * Fierce Surpa- 
naka her of yore, The ten-necked tyrant* s 
mother bore.' The Raksha-maiden, describ- 
ed as poor in beauty and plain in face, was 
given in marriage to Vitthuru-singan or Vith- 
yucchavan or Kala-Keyan. She called herself 
KamavallL Her son was Sampu-kumaran, 
born after- his father's death. In a conflict 
with the brother Rakshas, Kala Keyar, 
Ravanan killed his brother-in-law unawares. 
In her widowed state Surpanaka was given 
for her maintenance the vasf empire of Janas- 
thanam and the Dandaka forest and was 
made Vicerene of it. She was helped by the 
statesmen and warriors* Kara and Dushana. 
She is depicted in the Epic as an ugly 
giantess. . She fell in love with Rama in the 
forest and would have him as lord and hus- 
band, and said that Sita, pale and mis-shapen, 



_j 2. 

.S3 CTj 



? 'g 

,c i e 



cti <tf .,, c 

s ^ c a 

1^ -81 

-S 2 S S 

-g J= 3 , 

e g 

P ^ 


cS ^ 

cd -G +j 


ca c "a 

a a 1 


I 2 _g 5 

i !S "S , G- 

^ H 

'^. 25 Q 


was scarcely a warrior's worthy wife and 
prayed to him to consecrate his gallant life to 
herself, a nobler, lordlier female, so that they 
together might range the woodlands and 
prove the joys of dalliance. In response to 
her passion, the chivalrous young warrior 
'cleft her nose and either ear when she came 
alone, leaving on the way Kara and the 
doughty Dushana, by Rama's Jove embolden- 
ed.* Here follows a dark picture ^f her by 
the poet, Valmiki.* 

" She, grim of eye and foul of face... 
She, of unlovely figure... 
She, whose, dim looks disordered hung... 
She, whose fierce accents counselled fear... 
She, whose dire form with age was dried... 
She, whose false lips maintained the wrong.... 
She, cruel-hearted, stained with sin,... 
She, hideous fiend, a thing to hate. 1 ' 

(Bk. Ill, C. 77). 



Reference has alrTadv K P SSessIon <* Lanka 

" " ^ ' 

o f 

.* emulsion ofhe R ffat e B ! and >" *> 

underworld. How it ,, ers to * he 

asfoUow, .^ "' ga ; ned -fated 

long time in P T. T Wlth hls fa mily lived for 

a. He wtt ^ KaVera dwe 
he obse^ed ' *" tte earlh ' 


consider how he mirtt^^ \' ed Wm * 
He conseSlv ! *"* Own for ' 

i io go and T 00 8 ^ 

her graciously She h,f ' cved 

the dreadful Ravanf f ,t me ' hc moth " of 
of Surpanatafarfd O ff h ^ \T K ba b rna, 
who was tte ,' J ^ ^teous Vioishana,' 

P m the forest K",^? chlldren grew 
Besting Ri shls St A ?r K akarna ^ ent ab * 
Kuvera went to pav hi, SUbsec * uent ^ when 


splendour *' Whereupon Havana repaired to 
Gokarna and practised austerities at very- 
great self -sacrifice. Having obtained boons, 
Ravana deputed Prahasta as envoy and he 
himself marched to Lanka with a large army. 
At the sight of his brother and* his formidable 
forces, Kuvera consulted his father, who 
advised him to give up the city and the state 
to Ravana. It was done accordingly. 

The next great adventure of RaVana was 
for the capture of Pushpaka Vimana or the 
Flowery Car, which was owned by Kuvera. 
It took place in the following circum- 
stances. When the rishis toho were tooked 
upon as political spies occupied the aranya, 
which wai part and parcel of the dominion of 
Ravana, and performed animal sacrifices in 
the name of God which were abhorrent to the 
Rakshas and professed wondrous powers, the 
Rakshas, in duty bound to guard it, .oppressed 
them. Kuvera, at one with them, despatched 
a message to Ravana, his step-brother, to stop 
such oppressions As it savoured mor<e of 
command than request and was prejudicial to 
liis interest, he resented it and led a large 
force against Kuvera. In the battle that 
ensued, Mariipatra, the 'field-marshal, of 
Kuvera,. was slani, and Kuvera was not only 


defeated or overthrown but deprived of his 
aerial car. 

In the -words of Ravana, ( Bk. Ill, C. 48. 
" Vaisravan once, my brother, wrought 
To ire, encountered me and fought, 
Rut, yielding to superior might, 
Fled from his home in sore affright.... 
I made the vanquished king resign 
The glorious car which now is mine 
Pushpak, the far -renowned, that flies 
Will-guarded through the buxom skies, 
Celestial hosts by Indra led 
Flee from my face disquieted/' 
It may be noted that in times ancient 
there were sky-cars which were not driven by 
steam or electricity as -the zeppelins or 
aeroplanes of to-day, but by will-power, which 
the rishis and rakshas seem to have possessed 
in plenty. 

Another exploit of note was his invasion 
of the kingdom of departed spirits and his 
terrific battle with King Yarna, the Just, whom 
he defeated. It was followed by his reduction 
of Bhogavati ruled by Vasuki and by the 
subjugation of the Nagas. Havana then 
attacked the imperial seat of Varuna in his 
absence aacl triumphed over his sons who did 
battle with the invader. 


His two invasions of Ayodhya, once to 
subdue Anaranian, and the next time to check 
the pride of Mam-Dhatha, its monarch, 
in which the former was vanquished and the 
latter entered into a treaty with -Havana, at the 
entreaty of Gala va and Pulastia, are note- 

Passing by his victories over the Gathi 
(Visvamitra's father), Maruttha in the hall of 
sacrifice, Mayan, Dhuth-chandan and others 
and looking over his discomfitures in the 
conflicts with Vali, Kartha-Veeryan and' 
Nivatha-Kavasar and his peace-makings with 
.them . at the jnstance . of great men, we come 
to his remarkable feat of trying to uproot 
Kailasa for having blocked the passage of his 
marvellous aerial car. The legendary account 
is that Uma trembled at the mountain being 
shaken to its foundations and embraced her 
lord for safety, who pressed his foot on the 
mountain's crest . and thereby crushed the 
head and limbs of Havana. Immediately the 
hero chanted Samarn and tuned his yal, 
which delighted the Lord so niuch, ; that He 
pardoned his affront and blessed him with 
long life and with the gift of an invincible and 
ever-triumphant sword. 


His last great exploit which proved fatal 
to him .and to his race was the abduction of 
Sita. The immediate cause of it was the 
barbarous mutilation of Surpanaka, Havana's- 
sister, by Lakshmaha. .The other causes- 
were the unauthorised occupatian of the 
Dandaka forest by rishis, their inhuman and 
unseemly sacrifices tending to prejudice the 
prevalent modes of faith and ritual in the land, 
and, above all, their endeavour to make the 
forest their own by seeking the aid of 
sovereigns who had no earth-hunger at all. 
Though the prime mover and teterrina 
causa belli was the sister of Ravana, the. 
abduction was made in due accordance with 
the rules of the Tamilian -modes of warfare: 
It is ridiculous on the part of the Aryan 
Chronicler to attempt to whitewash the 
acquiescence of Rama or the heinous action 
of Rama's brother-exile by saying that the 
Vicerene threatened to eat Sita, as if she were 
a cannibal. Who would believe the statement 
that, passion-ridden, she went to Rama 
unaccompanied or alone, without a previous 
clandestine love with the prince of Ayodhya-" 
It is very likely that Sita was shrewd enough 
to discover or detect the secret love and that 
Rama professed innocence to satisfy his wife 


and stand in her good graces. Whatever the 
cause, the carrying away of any object near 
and dear to the enemy with a view to give 
Siim an occasion for showing his valour and 
redeeming it was the practice in vogue in the 
ramil country. So Havana's procedure was 
juite in consonance with it. The wily Aryan 
>rince, dragged into the conflict by the 
Braises and prayers of the ambitious rishis in 
:he first instance, sought the aid of the exiles, 
he wife-lorn Sugriva, and his warrior-in- 
:hief Hanuman, described in the epic as 
Beings endowed in contempt with caudal 
ippendages, to make a quest of the ravished 
3ifcu Would a love-sick Titan place Sita in 

' ' "* 

he Asoka grove under the guardianship of 
vomen who were his kith and kin, and beg 
>f her to requite his love and marry him? 
:t seems extremely improbable thai such was 
he case. Did Rama directly pursue Ravana 
o recover Sita '? He indulged in meanings 
ind mournings unworthy of a master archer. 
But for the Dravidian Hanuman who played 
he incendiary and the medicine man and for 
he treacherous Vibishanan who ran away 
rom his brother, informed Rama of the 
vulnerable points of his foe and of the city of 
Lanka, victory and wife-recovery would have 


been out of the question. The Aryan mode 
of conquest was and is ' Divide and Conquer*. 
Ravana fought as a warrior and .fell, and 
so did his brother Kumbakarna, and his son. 
Indrajit. All honour to thsm. 

" Ravan ne'er can yield or bend, 

And be it vice or virtue, I 

This nature never will belie" (Bk. VI, -C. 36.) 

Among the exploits of Ravana have been 
included some of his love escapades* The 
Aryan Chronicler enumerates them and lays 
special "stress upon them with a view to 
establish Nemesis or the Law of Retribution 
for sinful acts committed by h-im. The 
Mysteries' of the Court of London and of 
Paris cite countless instances of vicious 
excesses in royal families. If hot blood in 
an ordinary individual overleaps cold decrees,, 
the royal blood has a licence in the, matter. 
fi, in a country where polygamy prevails^ 
liaisons are very frequent and common, they 
must ride rough-shod in places where mono- 
gamy is strictly enjoined and purity in woman 
is sternly enforced. The Rakshas had the 
privilege of taking many wives and of 
maintaining a harem. In these circumstances 
rapes and ravishments would be unnecessary 
<.nd uncalled for. In all countries poor 


women often throw themselves in the way of 
Kings for favour of acceptance and many are 
caught, like moths, by the glare of royal 
pomp and circumstance. Vedavati. the 
young and beautiful but poor daughter of 
Rishi Kusadhwaja, had been dedicated by 
her father to Vishnu orNarayana. Ravana is 
alleged to have touched the hair of her head 
with the tip of his finger, when she entered the . 
blazing fire. Rambha, wife ot-NSlakupara,' 
was forced by Ravana, and her husband 
cursed him that his head should split should 
he take any woman by force. Enamoured of 
Lakshmi, in Pathala, he went thither, but was 
driven away. Similarly, the wife of f&mban 
was approached by the lord 'of Lanka, who, 
captured by her husband, was released at the 
intercession of his queen Mnndothari, who had 
the grace of Siva. 



The island of Lanka was primarily 
Havana's Kingdom. It is said that Agastya 
forbade Ravana by the marvellous power of 
his music and magic from acquiring any spot 
in the surviving Tamilaham. His son, Tirisira, 
owned territory on the banks of the Cauveri. 
Janasthanam and the Dandaka forest were 
under, his absolute control- He was their 
overlord. His sister Surpanaka in her 
widowed state was their ViCerene, assisted by 
Kara, her prime minister, to carry out her 
behests, and Dushana to giiard her and her^ 
vast empire with a force of 14,000 choicest 
warriors. The government of Lanka was in 
his own hands. He had an advisory body or 
council, composed , of the ablest and most 
experienced statesmen and warriors, and 
consulted it in times of need. He had 
ministers, ambassadors, and spies who were 
true and loyal to him. Though he gave his 
ear to them, he always acted on his own 
decision and was every inch a King. He was 
ubiquitous, and his influence was felt every- 
where, far and near. 


" Where none is King, the sower's hand 
Casts not the seed upon the land ; 
The son against the father strives ; - 
And husbands fail to rule their wives : 
In kingless realms no princes call 
Their friends to meet in crowded hall ; 
No joyful citizens resort 

To garden trim or sacred court 

In kingless lands no law is known, 
And none may call his wealth his own. 
Each preys on each from hour to hour 

As fish the weaker fish devour 

As in the frame of man the eye 

Keeps watch and .ward, a careful spy, 

The monarch in his wide domains 

Protects the truth, the right maintains. 

He is the right, the truth is he, 

Their hopes in .him the well-born see. 

On him his people's lives depend, 

Mother is he, and sire, and frienc}' 

The world were veiled in blinding night, 

And none could see or know aright, 

Ruled there no King in any state 

The good and ill to separate (Bk. II, C. 67). 

Primogeniture governed the succession 
:he throne. 

" Eldest son of 'the eldest brother such the 

maxim we own, 
Worthy of his father's kingdom, doth ascend 

his father's throne ' ? (Dutt). 


This ancient custom was ruthlessly 
broken by the Aryans who followed the 
principles of expediency and compromise. 
The installation of Ravana* surviving brother 
in preference to his sons who were yet in the 
land of the living illustrates the statement. 
Sugriva was placed on the throne of Kishkinda 
rather than Angadha, the son of Vali. This 
is another notable instance of the violation 
by the Aryans of the law of succession 
which bound the Rakshas. 

"As Havana governed his country well, 
there was internal peace, and no feud. His 
foreign policy was equally good and admir- 
.able. He was friends with his brother 
monarchs, and no foreign aggression is 
mentioned or alluded to in the epic. When 
Hanurnan thought of the four expedients 
of conciliation, gifts, disunion, f and force, 
which were commonly resorted to for 
vanquishing an enemy or for making him 
come to terms, he deemed it wise to adopt 
the fourth, as the trial of the other expedients 
would not, in his opinion, succeed with the 
loyal subjects of Ravana. 

" These dwellers in the giant's isle 


/ cannot bribe i I cannot sow 
Dissension mid the Rakshas foe. 
Arts, gifts, address, these 'fiends despise; 
But force shall yet their King chastise" 

(Bk. V..-C. 51). 

Besides the island and Janasthanam,, 
Ravana' held suzerainty over ten or more 
isles, which contributed thousands of faithful 
and loyal fighters to him in times of war. 
. Vide stanzas 9j:o 23, Padai-Katchipadalam, 
C. 29, Yuddhafcanda. The whole military 
strength of Lanka's lord was a thousand 
Vellara, vellam being a myriad or a very 
large mimber. 

Ravana was the head of the civil, judicial,, 
military and spiritual administration ofliis 
vast and extensive realm, and obedience, not 

through mere fear but out of love for the 

safety and peace-giving monarch, was 1 the 
bond of his rule. Harmony prevailed, and no 

The Raksha government of Lanka had a 
short interregnum of Yaksha rule when 
Kiivera bore sway during the minority of 
Ravana. - How long and when Ravana reigned 
is not known; everything is pre-historical :. 
Ravana, was a 'contemporary of Rama. Sub- 


sequent to the fall of the Rakshas ? the island 
seems to have been occupied and ruled by 
the much civilised and heroic Nagas, whose 
kings were known as Naga-royar and who 
had held dominion all over India up to 

y > ' ^ ' 

thef Himalayas- The toxvns, Nagapattinam, 
Nagapurani, Nagarkoil etc. testify to that 
fact. The first prince of Thondai-mandalarn 
w^p the offspring of a Naga princess and a 
jfehola King. Yalpanam or Manal-Divu 
(Manatti sandy or shoaly^sjaiid) had borne 
the name of Naga-Divu or Dwipa. When 
Naga rule came to an end, the vanquished 
kings probably settled permanently in 
the said isle, and in the Nainar dwipa, and in- 
a i division of Vindhanai. In ancient Tamil 
classics occur the names of Naga rulers 
artiong the Sangam poetic fraternity, as Mudi 
Nagar or prewned Nagan, Ila-Nagar, or Young 
or Prince Nagan, and others. . ~ 

After the conversion of the islanti. to 
Buddhism, the. government-was more or less 
Buddhistic, and the Mahavamso enumerates 
seventy-seven kings, beginning with Vijaya, 
(the. first ruler of the Sinhala dynasty from the- 
Gangetic valley,) between B. C. 543 and A. D 
445. Lanka was in historical times frequently 
invaded by the Kalinga, Chola, Chera and 


Pandyan kings, including the Kayak rulers. 
At one time it was known as Cheran-divu on 
account of its occupation by a Chera king. 
The History of L^nka mentions Vikramaraja 
Singan as having waged an atrocious war 
with the English. He was the 165th ruler 
and probably the last. In 1815 the Kandyan 
ruler was deposed, and deported to Vellore t 
and the island became .a crown colon)". 



War has been described by the poet as 
the last argument of noble kings 9 . The 
causes of the war in Ceylon have already 
been adverted to. The 'missionary, merchant, 
monarch* has been wittily said to form -the 
different stages in tjie conquest of a country. 
The missionary -goes to preach his religion, 
and, under the garb of his holy or sacred func- 
tion, puts on record the state of the land in its 
political, economic and social aspects, whither 
he has made his way. The merchant follows 
him and carries bn trade with it. The pro- 
duce and wealth of the region are exploited 
and. reported upon to the mother country, 
For the ' sake of establishing religion and 
draining the resources thereof, the flag, of the 
nation to which he belongs is put up t last 
War is declared on some pretext or other 
and is- followed by conquest and annexation 
In ancient India the different stages were 
rishi, ritual and rupture. The rishis 61 
anchorites built their asrams wherever the\ 
pleased and performed sacrifices and ob&er* 
ved rituals or rites and ceremonies obnoxious 


to their peaceful neighbours and provoked 
th.em into rupture and called in the aid of 
powerful monarchs to withstand oppression. 
In short, they let loose the dogs of war. In 
his Calcutta University Carniichael lectures 
delivered in 1918, Mr. D. R. Bhandarkar 
writes of the work of the rishis in these terms : 
" The ancient Rishis were not mere inert 
thinkers, but were active, though not aggres- 
sive, propagators of their . faith ** (p. 17). 
" Rishis took a most prominent but unobtru- 
sive part in the Aryan colonisation and the 
diffusion of Aryan culture " (p. 19.) " To the 
south of the Vindhya, there were many 
Brahmin anchorites who lived in hermitages 
at different places and performed their sacri- 
fices bcfore-SKama penetrated Dandakaranya 

and commencedxhis career of conquest The 

Rishis were always to the forefront in the 
work of colonising Southern India and intro- 
ducing Aryan civilisation. Among them 
Agastya was theonly Rishi, who fought with the 
Rakshas and killed them. The other rishis ? 
like true missionaries, never resorted to the 
practice of retaliation, though they believed 
righth' or wrongly that they had the power of 
ridding themselves of their enemy. One of 
them distinctly said to.Rama : i It is true that, 


by the power .of our austerities,; we could at 
will slay these goblins ; but we are unwilling 
to nullify (the merit of) .our .austerities** 
pp. 20-21. (Ramayana, Bk. Ill C. 10 11 18-4). 
The rishi Visvamitra implored. Dasaraiha to 
send his son Rama with him southward to 
ward off or extinguish the Raksha troubles. 
Later, when Rama was exiled, he spent 
months and years in the hermitages in the 
Dandaka forest. In his wanderings in this 
Aranya, he came across Surpanaka, the 
widowed princess and Vicerene. She ap- 
peared before Rama as a most lovely girl, her 
glossy hair ornamented with flowers, with 
gold bangles tinkling round her slender ankles 
and wrists* In the conversation that ensued, 
Rama addressed her thus : % * Beautiful maidy 
I am grateful to you for your kindness ; but, 
as you see, I am already married, and you 
would be angry if you had to be the lesser 
wife. But there is my brother Lakshmana ? 
handsome and young. He is a suitable hus- 
band for you/ When Surpanaka approached 
him, he said " Lovely maid, you cannot want 
a slave like me as your husband. I am' the 
slave of my brother. He is handsome, strong, 
and a great warrior; You must marry him, 
and he will love you so much that he will 

. : WAR IN LANKA 49 

desert his pneseht wife/ She thought that 
Lakshmaoa, was serious and returned to 
Rama. His tantalisation and veiled mockery * 
provoked her f and he felt that it was ill- 
jesting with a woman in power. In her 
forlorn state it was natural for her to have 
cast glances or side-long looks of love at the 
Aryan exiles* Their eyes met and spoke 
eloquently. The elder Kshatrya prince was 
evidently bewitched by the lordlier Raksha 
clause, and polygamy among the Kshatryas was 
nothing strange. According to Tholkappiara, 
a Kshatrya was entitled to marry three wives, 
and monogamy did not hang upon his neck 
like a -nether mill-stone. The plea of *conju 
gal fidelity by Rama sounds hollow under the 
circumstances. He probably dreaded Sita's 
suspicion, discovery, or detection of the love- 
intrigue. To pass for a spotless husband in 
the eyes of his spouse, the banished hero 
and rishi-champion would have none of 
Suipanaka ; he told her to go to Lakshmana, 
knowing full well that the chivalrous young. 
man -would deal harshly by hen She suffered 
mutilation at his hands, and bewailed her 
lot Ravana^s blood boiled when he saw her 
bereft of her nose and ears* The slaying 
of Kara and Dushana and 14,000 picked- 


Rakshas by Rama had already infuriated Mm. 
Ravana could bear no more the insult added 
to the injury. He carried away Sita in 
accordance with the war practice in vogtie In 
the Tamil land and expected that her life- 
partner would pursue and redeem her 
Instead of pursuing the ravisher himself* he 
sought the alliance of Sugriva who was wife- 
less and in like circumstances. He deputed 
parties of his men in quest of Sita. The 
Dravidian. hero, Hanuman, with Sugriva, ae 
exile, volunteered his service, bent upon 
smashing the heroic Vali by hook or by 
crook. He made a long tour in the South 
and crossed the sea and set the City of Lanka 
on fire at night. Was it a knightly deed ? 
It was an act of the knights of the highways. 
After ftie fire-devastation of the city, on 
the advice of the brother-traitor Vibishana, 
Hanuman escaped from the island with his 
skin and teeth safe but did not bring Sita with 
him. After the city was in ruins, Rama had 
no great difficulty in rescuing hen She was 
iui the Asoka grove, well-guarded and well- 
nursed. Rama thought he could take an 
easy walk over the intervening sea and have 
Sita back. War was proclaimed. Ravana 
held a council of war and sought advice- 


For c wisest monarchs act on counsel from his 
men for wisdom known, and wisest counsel 
comes from courtiers who in holy lore unite *. 
* From counsel, sages say, the root springs 
victory, the most glorious fruit '. He pressed 
the Council for an -early reply lest the Vanar 
-host should invest the island. Prahasta, the 
Prime Minister, said that his gallant Raksha 
.forces would stand by' him in his need, that 
Hanuman stole like a craven spy> and that the 
lord of Lanka ha.d nothing to fear in the gory 
field of battle with the Vanars. Next Dur- 
mukha spoke in fury, and wound up his 
speech with the statement -that his single arm 
would attack and drive the daring Vanars 
back, without need of gathered forces. The 
third speaker was Vajra-danshtra. He suggest 
ed two schemes. One was that he would 
with his -mace slay Sugriva and drive away 
ihe helpless hermit brothers, and the other 
that his gallant soldiers should disguise them- 
selves as Bharafs men and fall upon the 
enemy with mace and bloody sabres u&til 
there was left no survivor. The brave 
Nikumbha^ son of Kumbakam% arose and 
cried in fury that he alone would take the 
field and see the foemen down, one and all. 
Vaira-hana, iron-jawed, advised the Mng in a> 


similar strain. Vibishana warned his brother 

against the impending doom of his raksha 

race and prayed to him to restore the captive 

and thereby avert the catastrophe. * Doubly 

armed is the hero he who battles for the 

right *. * Faithful friend but fiery foeman is- 

Dasaratha's son \ * Righteousness becomes 

the braye, cherish peace and cherish virtue, 

and thy sons and daughters save *. Moved to 

sudden wrath, by the praise of his enemy's 

valour, Ravat^ dismissed his cowardly and 

dastardly brother from the Council hall. 

Then came Kumbakarna, who condemned the 

rape in strong terms, but who would live or 

die with ^his brother and monarch, which was 

his duty. He would fight his monarch's- 

battle and woxikf face his brother's foe. He 

would be true to brother and to monarch,, 

were he right or were he wrong. He said r 

" But, Ravan* as the deed is done, 

The toil of war I .will not shun " 

Indrajit assured his father of . victory and 
added that he, victor over Trilokanatha, 
would not yield to a homeless human foe. 
After giving a patient ear to all the coun** 
cillbrs, Ravana was disgusted with the lurking 
envy of Vibishana and with his vaulting 
ambition and decided to meet the foe in open 


-combat and give him a chance to recover his 
"wife by his feats of strength. 

Vibishana fled to where Rama was, 
accompanied by four captains of the band 
Analan, Anilan, Aran, and Sampathi Sugriva 
took him for a spy .from the giant host 
and Angadhan entertained similar doubts. 
Sarabha also would try and test him* King 
Jambavan too suspected him and^Mainda also 
cautioned Rama. The shrewd Hanuman said: 
" Vibishan comes DO crafty spy : 
Urged by his brother's fault to fly, 
With righteous soul that loathes the sin, 
He fled from Lanka and his kin," 
These words cleared up Rama's rising doubts, 
.and he spoke thus : 

" The suppliant will I ne'er forsake, 
Nor my protecting aid refuse, 
When one in name of friendship sues, 
Though faults and folly blot his fame, 
Pity and help he still may claim ". 

Immediately Rama flattered Vibishana with 
the kingship of the island : 

" And thou shalt reign in Havana's stead ", 
and Vibishanan was consecrated with sea- 
water amid shouts of * Vibishanan, Lanka's 
lord*, He burst out with words of zeal and 
-enthusiasm ; for, in his exceeding joy, he could 


not contain himself, and betrayed the natur 
his inner man. 

" Thy conquering army will I guide 
To storm the city of the foe, 
And aid the tyrant's overthrow/* 

Spies were sent by Havana to survey 
enemy's forces. Sardula reported ' A rust 
tide Ten leagues they spread from sid 
side f . Suka, detected by Angadha as a 
was taken captive and bound, but was relez 
at the intervention of Rama. So was Sa 
Both told King Ravana : 

" Vibishan seized us, King, and fain 
His helpless captives would have slain/* 

and praised Rama's generous heart and 
four undaunted and unparalleled chiefs of 
foe's forces Sugriva, Vibishana, Rama, 
Lakshmana. Provoked by the reports, 
Lord of Lanka ordered his captains 
generals to be ready for valiant defence. 

" There in the centre, Rama cried, 
Be Angad's place by Nila's side. 
Let Rkfaabh of impetuous might 
Be lord and leader on the right, 
And Gandhamadhan, next in rank, 
Be captaJa_0f the farther flank, 

IN 'LANKA .55 

Lalcshman and I the hosts will lead, 
And Jambavan of Ursine* breed, 
With bold Sushen unused to fear, 
And Vgadarsi, guide the rear ". 
Thus marshalled, Rama's forces marched 
southward and surveyed the island from 
SwelaY peak. The sallies commenced In 
right earnest The beleaugered city of 
Laiika was attacked by the serried ranks- 
Vaiiars and Rakshas fell in countless numbers. 
Indrajit, the first in his magic art, twice 
'defeated both -Rama and Lakshmana. 

. * Fastened by a noose of Naga forced by 

hidden foe to yield, 

Hama and the powerless Lakshman fell 
and fainted on the field "; 

Dumralcsha and Akampan were slain by 
Hantiman ; Vajra-danshtra was laid lifeless on 
the plain by Augadhaj and Prahasta was 
felled' by 'the- gallant Nila. Sugriva encoun 
tered'Ravana and fainted beneath. the furious 
shock of fcis foeraan's arrows. The Vaiiara 
Jhost f^ll in battalions. Hanuman came 
against Ravana whose mighty onset rolled 
Hanmman "weltering in red blood upon the 
gory plain- Next fought the valiant Nila, and 
died. After Nila'sf all Lakshmaaa challenged 


Havana to wage with him an equal stri ^ 
when they closed in dubious battle. Wfa a 
at last Ravana hurled his Sakti, the javelin rf 
flaming splendour, which was given him ! jr 
the gods in days of yore, the gallant Laks - 
mana could not resist its consuming force ai 1 
fell At his fall Rama arose, but Ravas % 
retreated. He sent Kumbakarna tothe.fra v 
At his sight the Vanars fled. Encouraged t r 
Angadha, the Vanars sallied once agai . 
Kumbakarna strupk down Hanuraaii at I 
hurled down Rishabah, Nila, Saraba, Gava - 
sha, and Gandha~madhan, chieftains of and; - 
iftg fame. Angadha met a similar fate, an ' 
Sugriva fated none the better. Lakshman . 
could not fight long with the huge warria 
Rama met him last and knocked off his tea< 
with his piercing arrow. After his death? tfa 
sons of Ravana Narantaka, Devantaka 
Tkisiras, Atikaya came one after anothei 
met their death at the hands of Angadha 
Hanuman, and Lakshmana. Ravana wep 
for the slaughtered princes, but Indrajit, wh< 
had begun the Nikumbila, a wonderful sacri 
fice, sought the field against the exiled princes 
and used his magic art. Both felt desperate 
and made up their minds to die with'damit* 
less hearts. In the third engagement Indrajil 


fell on the field of Nikumbhila, smitten by'the 
unerring dart of Lakshmana. Havana was 
taken by surprise and lamented woefully. 
* The father wept the son/ Ravana sought a 
iitting revenge for his brave and noble son 
and called upon Mahodar and Virupaksha 
and Mahaparshwa to remember the death of 
Khara, Dushana, Kumbakarna, and Indrajit 
and do their duty. When the Raksha 
squadrons shook the earth beneath their tread, 
Ih6y had foul omens, and their hearts beat 
slow. Sugriva slew Mahodar and Virupaksha* 
and Angadhan felled Mahaparshwa. Ravana 
swept the ranks of war with more than mortal 
valour ; and, when he found his false brother 
battling by the foeman's side, he threw his 
mighty javelin at him. But Lakshmana saved 
him by his might Ravana smote Lakshmana 
down by his Sakti. Hanuman played the 
Galen and brought healing herbs, whose juice 
brought the fallen warrior back to life. 
Ravana for the third time went to war. The 
dubious battle lasted long. Ravana used pike 
and .club and mace and trident against the 
spear, sword and arrows of Rair*a, but he 
could not withstand Brahma's deathful 
weapon, winded by Rama, which pierced his 
iron heart arid laid him low and lifeless. 


Tiuis fell the- mighty Lord of Lanka ? by th 
hand of a human foe, the Raksha host senc 
Ing forth a wild terrific yell s while othe 
voices breathed 'champion of gods 3 we! 
done, well doneV He who had borne ; 
charmed life died with harness on his back 
and his death was glorious indeed ! 



What was his age when Ravana fell? 
He was verily above fifty years old. But the 
epic is silent on the point When Vibishana 
saw his brother slain, his ambition veiled 
heart could not contain its woe. Is not blood 
thicker than water ? The brotherly instinct 
spoke. The death of the man, first in war,, 
first in peace, and first in the hearts of his 
countrymen, was bewailed, and the falsely 
true brother, who believed that the tree of 
liberty grew only when watered by the blood 
of tyrants, broke out in lament, though it 
seemed judas-like, a mock lamentation. 

41 O hero, bold and brave ! he cried, 
Skilled in all arms, in battle tried, 
Spoiled of thy crown, with limbs outspread..- 
Woe for the giant's royal tree, 
Whose stately height was fair to see. 
His buds were deeds of kingly grace, 
His bloom the sons who decked his race. 
With rifled bloom and mangled bough 
The royal tree lies prostrate now. 1 * 

(B.K. VI Ch. III.) 


Did the usurper live long to enjoy the 
fruits of his treason or perfidy ? Did he 
transmit, or had he any posterity to whom to 
transmit, the diadem and scqptre wrongly bes- 
iowed ? There are reasons -for us to believe 
1hat he had neither blessing. He must have 
ielt in his dying days, 

" Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, 
And put a barren sceptre in my gripe, hand* 
T&ence to be wrenched with an uftlineal 
No son of mine succeeding. 91 

Mandothari, RavanaV spouse, wept bitter 
iears over the corpse of her. lord and husband, 
ihe greatest soldier of the world, her ' plated 
lfars, f i the arm and burgonet of men.* 

" Hast thou fallen, king and consorts more 

than Gods in warlike might, 
Slain by man, whom bright Immortals feared 

to face in dubious fight ? 
Woe tome! the sad remembrance haunts 

my tortured bosom still, 
Of our days on famed Kailasa or on Meru's 

golden hill, 
Gone the days of joy and gkdness, 

Mandothair's days are done, 
Since her lord and king and husband from 

her dear embrace is gone !*-' 



" The hand that embraced the goddess of 
War, the goddess of Learning, the goddess of 
Fame, at the instigation of jealousy, longed 
to embrace the daughter of virtue and 
fortune, the divinely chaste lady unseen even 
by the gods, and this led to the loss of life 
and the commission of sin. O madman, thou,, 
who hadst by thy bravery conquered the 
elephantine guardians of the airts 9 liest in 
the embrace of mother. Earth.'* 

Her life goes out the moment she hears- 
that her lord is no more; for, with him all 
her bliss comes to an end. 

that is, she who has lost her husband is the 
last of the household. So cried KannaH, the 
heroine of Silappathikaram to the King of 
Madura when he condemned her husband 


to instant death on a false charge of theft at 
*he instance of a roguish goldsmith. 

One hero appreciates another. Rama said: 

fc< The warrior king has noBly died, 
Intrepid hero, firm through ail, 
So fell he as the brave should fall." 

" Yet for the fallen warrior plead 
The dauntless heart, the valorous deed,. 
Let him who ne'er had brooked defeat, 
The chief whom Indra feared to meet, 
The ever- conquer ing lord obtain 
The honours tKat grace the slain." (C, 113,) 

and bade the funeral rites and .obsequial 
honours duly paid by Vibishanan and the 
rest. They 'heaped sandalwood, laid fragrant 
garlands and precious scents, arrayed the 
fallen leader in the richest robes, decked him 
with pearl and coral ornaments, laid the 
corpse upon a golden litter surrounded by 
weeping queens and sorrowing Rakshas, hung 
flowers and pennons thereon and sang the 
monarch's praise. The golden litter or bier 
~was lifted and borne to the burning ghat or 
cremation ground with blazing holy or sacred 
fire. Vibishanan led the slow procession of 
the dead followed by the sad widowed multi- 
tude. On the piled sandal logs and scented 
wood, the corose was set. -offerings were made 


to propitiate the shade^ Brahmans chanted 
mantras , an altar was formed southward on the 
eastern side, oil and curds were shed on the 
dead man's shoulder, rich vesture was laid qn 
the corpse 3 parched grain was strewn over it, 
a goat of inky darkness was slain as a sacri- 
ficej and the funeral pyre was lighted by 
Vibishana. When the zephyrs gently blowing 
fanned the bright and blazing fire, the mour- 
ners left the burning ground after due ablu- 
f ions. The sacrifice of a goat at ths funeral 
was probably an Aryan custom. 



The character of Ravana has been much 
-vilified as a love-sick Titan. Ravana carried 
off Sita as a war-prize and treated her with 
courtesy, decorum and respect. Had he been) 
passion-ridden, as alleged by the chronicler 
and purana-writer, he could have committed 
outrage or done her to death in case of obdu- 
racy. He did neither, when Surpanaka 

* Let Sita of the faultless frame 
Be borne away and be thy dame.' 

Ravana acted upon it for the reasons mention- 
ed herebelow. 

" He (Rama) sought the wood with fair 


Of truthful life and innocence, 
But his false hand my sister left 
Mangled, of nose and eats bereft* 
This Rama's wife who bears the name , 
Of Sita, in -her face and frame 
Fair as a daughter of the skies 
Her will I seize and bring the prize 
Triumphant from the forest shade.' 1 " 


Accordingly he skylarked Sita, Rama's 'darling 
wife, dearer to Rama than his life.' 
*' Then Ravan raised her up, and bare 
His captive through the fields of air." 

Sita was a dark beauty, of the furrow sprung, 
a Dravidian woman who cared for her chastity 
more than her life. Ravana bore sway over 
almost all India, Mount Kailas not excepted, 
and was called Thennavan, a man of the south, 
for Ilankai had been a province of Tamilaham 
in pre-diluvian times. He was a Dravidian, 
. a Tamilian, in particular. His mother tongue* 
is nowhere indicated, though he is represent- 
ed as a. Sanskrit scholar. Hanuman spoke to 
Sita in a Dravidian language which was 
intelligible to. her and not in Sanskrit. In his 
Lectures on the Ancient History of India, on 
the period from 650 to 325 B.C delivered in 
1918 by Mr. D. R. Bhandarkar, M.A., F.A.S.B., 
Carmichael Professor of Ancient Indian 
History and Culture, Calcutta University, he 
has, pp.25 8. . " It is, indeed, strange how 
the Aryan failed to supplant the Dravidian 
speech in this (southern) part of India, though 
it mos^t successfully did in Northern India, 
where I have no doubt the Dravidian tongue 
prevailed before the advent of the Aryans. 
This will be seen from the fact that ' Brahui, 

fact, accepted by all scholars, that there are 
many Sanskrit words, which are all Dra 
vidian And this will confirm the conclu- 
sion that the Dravidian tongue was prevalent 
in,. North India before the Aryans came and 
occupied it. The same conclusion is forced 
upon us by an examination of 'the vernaculars 

of North India N-o reasonable doubt can 

therefore be entertained as to the Dravidian 
speech once being spoken in North India 
We may add that Tamil, being the mother of 
the Dravidian languages, prevailed throughout 
India in pre-historic times. This digression 
is necessary to show that Sita was a Dravidian 
lady s a worshipper of Siva,* a fact confirmed 
by her worshipping 'in a Siva! ^fyrine in the 
place now called Ramesvram immediately 
after she labded on *the eastern shores of 
India. The place, which was rightly * Rava- 
nesvaram, came to bear the name, Ramesvram^ 
because Rama worshipped Iswara therc^ 

* Caldwell, Grammar of the Dravidian Languages, 
Auction, pp. 43 4. 


though it Is said that he cooped a linga of 
sand for the purpose. Why he worshipped a 
linga may not be - intelligible to lay minds; 
his worship of the linga might seem ridiculous 
to an unhistorical reader who views the 
question from the .point of Rama being an 
incarnation or a devotee of Tiramal. To 
contiaue the characterisation of Havana. 
When Sita was in his clutches, -he 1 " merely 
made overtures to her. Sita disdained them, 
-As a Dravidian, Ravana would not touch her, 
unless she yielded. 

" But I with rude hands will not touch 

A Lidy whom I love so much ", 
This, his chivalrous and magnanimous 
behaviour, is in striking contrast with the 
^conduct of the Aryan prince who cleft 
Surpanaka's nose and ears, despite the Aryan 
chronicler's picture of the Dravidian princess 
as a she-cannibal. Ravana, had he been a 
rude monster, would have done Siia to death 
when his sons and kinsmen were slain by 
.Rama and his allies and the island was 
desolated. But Ravana forbore doing any 
such wicked act of revenge. So chivalrous 
'was he that he once set out for vindicating the 
honour of Kumbinasi, but he gave it up a 


We have shown in the preceding pag s 
that Ravana was a learned and pious man, i 
wise, just and peaceful ruler, a loving husbant h 
a fond father and brother,! and a famoi >- 
Itrfist and composer. " The readers of tt t 
Rain&yana 9 * so wrote a discerning critic an , 
a famous historical scholar, " are familiar wi1 
the austere penance he performed for a gre; : 
length of time, accompanied with such sel - 
sacrifice as was unknown to Aryans. (Arany; - 
kanda, C. 32 and Uttarakanda, C, 10). Thi . 
was at the beginning of his career, but hi 
subsequent life shows that he allowed not 
single day to pass without worshipping th 
Sivalinga with choicest flowers and sanda 
(Utfara. 36). His piety is ako exemplified b] 
the .innumerable hymns he sang, set to musk 
in honour of Siva on the Kailas (Ibid., C. 16) 
He was also versed in the foreign lore of th< 
Vedas, Angas,' and Sastras (Aranyakanda 
C. 32). In addition to music he was also 2 
patron of the other fine arts, as will be seer 
from the fact that they had attained perfection 
in his dominions. Certainly the character oi 
the individual who fosters these cannot be 
depraved ". As a ruler, he made expeditions 
of conquest beyond the confines of his king- 
dom, but there were no internal dissensions 


or internecine wars. With his brother 
Dravidian monarchs he lived in peace and 
amity. (Uttara. 37, 39). He loved his brother 
Kumba-Karna, pictured as a huge gorman- 
dizer, so well that no thought of desertion 
ever crossed his mind in times of utmost 
crisis. He was true to his brother and said, 

18 Joy thee in thy pleasures, Ravan, rule thy 

realm in regal pride, 
When I slay the hermit Rama, widaWed Sita 

be thy bride!" 

In the Introduction to Book IX, entitled 
Ravana Sabha, R. C. Dutt writes : " It is 
noticeable that Ravana's second brother, 
Kumba-Karna, also had the courage to censure 
his elder's action. But unlike Bibishan he 
was determined to fight for his king whether 
he was right or wrong. There is a touch of 
sublimity in this devoted loyalty of Kumba- 
Karna to the cause of his king and country ". 

Ravana's love for his sister, Surpanaka, 
was the cause of the Titanic War. He truly 
repeated when he knew that he had uncon- 
sciously committed the sin of slaying his own 
"hi other-in-law and made ample amends for it 
f>y appointing her Vicerene over the Empire 
of Janasthanam. Though Mandothari, in 



at length regained, 

tones he thus eonaplaine 
, son> my pr . de ; ^ ^^ 

2 nd Story of 'the giant host. 
CoId Lakshmana's puny m ight defeat 
The foe whom Indra f eared t ; meet eat 
And wast thou conquered fay a boT? 
J^Jl not w^ :thynob l e y 


Has blessed thee with immortal* meed 

Gained by 'each hero in the skies 

Who, fighting for Ms sovereign* 'dies...... 

^ me, with hill. and. plain, 
Is desolate ; for thoti art slain... 
I fondly hoped thy hsiod-should pay 
: ., Due honours' on my dying day': 
And'couldst thou, O bsloved, flee 

leave thy funeral rites to me ? 
. Life has no comfort left me, none, 
O Indrajit, my soa, my son.' 5 . (Bk. VI; C. 93.) 

Can ..any 4 putra.s6kam * transcend this' in the 

of its grief ? 

Considered on every side and viewed 
all points^ Ravaiia supremely intelli- 
gent, erudite, mighty, discreet, and amiable, 
he was a great and good man, * one of the 

highest and noblest specimens of humanity f . 

Why the Aryan Chronicler painted 
him as & -monster with ten heads and twenty 
and as a destroyer of human life ? The 
reason* is not far to seek. The wife of ar 
Aryan prince was abducted. The sacrifices 
4>f the trespassing Aryan rishis were molested, 
The Dravidian hero is black here and 

there to sfet off the Aryan prince, the hero of 
the as an and lover and a 

flawless and victorious prince. Valmiki, who 




without ,': lb /^ na Wh assumcd tte Pn> = 



which naught 

s I fflay not grace ". 
*' Hatred dies 




Rama, the Kshatrya prince, came to be 
deified in process of time and he is looked 
upon and worshipped as an incarnation of 
Vishnu. The Rama-Nama is a tharaka man- 
tram with hosts of Hindus, This belief form- 
Ing the fundamental doctrine of the religions 
system of Ramanuja in the twelfth and of 
Ramananda in the fourteenth century, 
accounts for the wide prevalence and popula- 
rity of the Rama-Vishnu cult. In South India 
The Four Thousand Hymns by Alwars of 
different castes " or classes have given it a 
fixity and 'a permanence which it could not 
have gained otherwise. 

The Epic of Rama, Lassen held, "was 
intended to represent allegorically the .first 
attempt of the Aryans to conquer the South. 
But Rama is nowhere described as founding 
an Aryan realm in the Dekhan, nor is any 
such intention on his part indicated any- 
where in the epic. Weber subsequently 
expressed the same view in a somewhat 
modified form. According to him, the 


was meant to account lor he 
spread of' Aryan culture - to the South an< to 
Ceylon. But this, form 'of '"the allegor :al 
theory also lacks any confirmation -from he 
statements of the epic ijtself; for Ran t f s 
expedition is nowhere represented -as pro u- 
cifig any change or improvement in the ch li- 
.nation of the South, The poet knows noth ig 
about the Dekhaa beyond "the fact t at 
Brahmin hermitages are to be found then ff . 

. According to Jacob!, the epic is based >n 

Indian -mythology, A celestial myth of-i ie 

Veda has been transformed into a narrat -e 

of earthly adventures. In the Rig-Veda S a 

appears as the furrow personified and. invok d' 

as a goddess. The Grihya Sutras represe it 

her ai a genius of the ploughed field s prais< 1 

for her great beauty y and as the wife of Ind a 

or Parjanya, the rain-god. In the epic Si i 

emerges from the earth when her fath r 

Jatiaka turns a furrow. Rama is no bth : 

than Indra, and his conflict witfi Ravana f tl 5 

Chief of the Rakshas 3 represents the Indr; 

Vrita myth of the RigVeda. " This ident ^ 

fication is confirmed by the name of Ravana i 

son being Indrajit, ( Conqueror of. . Indra \ c 

Indrasatm, c Foe of Indra *, ' the latter bein ; 

actually an epithet' 7 of Vritra in the Rig-Veds 


Ravan's most notable feat, the rape of Sita, 
has Its prototype In the stealing- of the cows 
recovered by Indra. Hanumat(n), the -chief 
of the monkeys and Rama's ally in the recovery 
of Sita, is ihe^on of the wind-god, with the 
patronymic Maniti, and is described as flying 
hundreds of leagues through the air to find 
Sita* Hence in his figure perhaps survives a 
reminiscence of Indra's alliance with the 
Maruts in his conflict with Vr-iia, ^nd of the 
dog Sarama who, as Indra's messenger, 
crosses the waters of the Rasa and tracks the 
cows. Sarama recurs in the name of a 
demoness who consoles Sita in her captivity ". 

Mr. R. C. Dutt* thus delayers himself on 
the historicity of the twin epics. " Like the 
Mahabaratha, the Ramayana is utterly value- 
less as a narrative of historical events and 
incidents. As in the Mahabaratha, so in the 
Ramayana, the heroes are myths pure and 

simple Sita, the field furrow, had 

received divine honours from the time of the 
Rig-Veda, and had been worshipped as a 
goddess. When cultivation gradually spread 
in Southern India, it was not difficult to invent 
a political ' myth that Sita was carried to the 

' Earlv Hindu Civilisation. Vol. I. P. 138. 


South. And when she, as a goddesj and 
woman- the noblest creation of human ii agi- 
nation had acquired a. distinct and 1< /ely 
individuality, she was naturally describe as 
the daughter of. the holiest ajid most lea led 
king on record, Jartaka of . the Videhas. ... 
But who is Rama, described in .the Ep ; as 
Sita's husband, and the King of Kosa is? 
The later Puranas tell us that he was an 
incarnation of Vishnu, but Vishn n himself ad 
not risen to prominence at the time of wi Ich 
we are speaking. Indra was still the Chit of 
the gpds of the Epic period. And in he 
Sutra literature (e.g.. Paraskara Grihya St :ra 
11-17, 97, we learn that Sita, the furrow g d- 
dess, is the wife of Indra. Is it then m 
untenable conjecture that Rama, the here of* 
Ihe Ramayana, is in his original concept! n, 
like Arjuna the hero of the Mahabaratha, 01 ty 
a new edition of Indra battling with *1 ie- 
demons of drought., The myth of Indra 1 is 
thus been mixed up with the Epic whi h 
describes an historic war in Northern Ind i, 
and with the Epic which describes the histoi c 
conquest of Southern India ". 

In The Dream ofRavan ; A Mystery I f 
G, R. S. M., Ravana is represented as tl 5 
Titanic, or in other words, the anti-Brahm - 


nical, aboriginal fetish-worshipping monarch, 
of Lanka or Ceylon... The hostile struggle 
with and death at the hands of Vishnu incar- 
nate in the person of Rama, so far from being 
a punishment to the soul, was its triumph 
was in fact, in union with the * Deity, a more 
rapid and royal road for its attainment than 
the slow and wearisome path of devotion. 
Thus all Havana's subsequent violence and 
crime receives a religious colouring. How- 
ever, the slave of. earthly passion to the eyes of 
men, his whole conduct was really motived 
upon this determination to bring on the beati- 
fic catastrophe and speed the collision which 
was to unite him with the Supreme Soul of the 
world; an interpretation of 'action which, 
however startling, seems to flow as a neces- 
sary result from a pantheistic view of the 

universe The ideal of happiness io the 

Hindu female is a perpetuity of renewed 
union with the one lord of her life. Mando- 
thari's virtues and fidelity render it worthy of 
a vindicator, and a perpetual theodice is a 
part of their very office.. ..Mandothari (signify- 
ing weighty stomach) was the virtuous Titaness 
and a very corpulent lady....The disinterested 
affection and elevated spiritualism of the 
dusky queen are noteworthy....The Titanic 


nature partakes largely of the Rajas and i 
lesser measure^/ the satvic quality." 
* Th ! * IlegoriC ^ mythical, and spirjtu; 
Iff 7f f' nS f theE ^ C * ^ma do* 
affectthe historical character of 'Havana. Th 
Aryans mi ght have found, his prototype i, 
Indra a nature-god, but the Dravidians hav, 
looked upon him as a raight y hero am 
monarch, a conqueror of worlds, and a fearles 
restster ofthe Aryan aggressions in SoS 
India. So great an admiration did he 

I Sam bandar. the 

d Dravida. Sisu, in his hyran in 
of the holy ashes, says * 

J.,., the holy ashes were upon -(worn by) 
even Ravana, the most powerful and dreaded 
sovereign of the ancient time. No higher 
eulogy can be thought of for any son 

might say, 

" I dared do all that did become a man, 
Who dares do more, is none" 

Macbeth I, Sc. vii 



Frow the Sketches of Ceylon History. 
by the Hon'blc P. Arunachalain, M . A. r 

The Arabs called Ceylon Serendib and 
the Portuguese Ceilad. to the inhabitants of 
the neighbouring continent of India it was- 
known centuries before the Christian era 'by 
the name of Lanka (the resplendent), the 'name 
it still bears among the native inhabitants,, 
both Sinhalese and Tamil. ' The Siamese 
have added the honorific Tewa, calling the 
island Tewa Lanka, 'divine Lanka \ To the 
Chinese Ceylon was %e island of jewels*,. 
to the Greeks 'the land of the hyacinth and 
the ruby y to the Indian Buddhist ' the peart 
upon the brow of India*. 

The geology and fauna of the island' 
point clearly to a time when Ceylon was part 
of an oriental continent, which stretched in 
unbroken land from ..-Madagascar -to 'the 
Malay Archipelago and northwards to the 
present valley of the Ganges. The valley 
was then occupied by a sea spreading west- 
ward across Persia,. Arabia, and the Sahara 
Desert, and forming the southern limit of the 


Palse-arctic continent, which embra< 3d 
Europe, North Africa and North Asia, [n 
* the course of ages the greater part of ic 
oriental continent was submerged in the s a, 
leaving Ceylon as a fragment in the cen "e 
with, on one side, the Maldives, Laccadiv s* 
Seychelles, Mauritius, and Madagascar, the; i- 
selves separated from one another I y 
hundreds of miles of sea, and, on the oth % 
the Malay Islands ; while the Ganges vall< Y 
was upheaved, making North and Sou i 
India one land, and, later, Ceylon itself w > 
separated from South India by a narrow se . 
Lanka the Resplendent earned this natr : 
on account of the glimmering of the rubk ;. 
and gems on her surface. Ilankai is synonj 
mous.with the Tamil trutti and arankam ( 
rising ground or dry glimmering spot in ; 
river, an ait or islet). Ilankai comes fron 
the Tamil verb ilanku-kiratuto shine QJ 
.glimmer and means ' that which glimrae^s*, 5 
fit name for an ait in the midst pf a shininf 
.sheet of waier. 

" The Cingalese traditions mention thai 
thousands of isles attached to the kingdom of 
Lanka were overwhelmed by the sea 
B. C. 2387, along with the-splendid capital of 
Sri Lankapoora which stpoc^ to the westward 


of the present island* If there Is any truth 

in the Ramayana or the * Havana Katawa * of 
Ceylon, the Maldives and Laccadives were 
then parts of the kingdom of Ravana, and, 
along with the great extent of Lanka, which 
was submerged, and the Southern Peninsula 
of India, formed the kingdom over which he 
ruled f * (Major Forbes). 

i The change of Ilanka into Lanka needs 
little explanation. The spirit of the Aryan 
-languages where, unlike in the Tamil, the 
letter L can begin a word, would naturally 
-eliminate the intitial I in assimilating the 
name into its vocabulary*'. 

The meridian of Lanka of the Indian 
astronomers, which was reputed to pass 
through Havana's capital, passes through the 
Maldive islands at 75 rt 53' 15" East Green* 
wich, quite four hundred miles from the pre- 
sent western limit of Ceylon. The Great 
Basses Lighthouse, which stands out on a 
solitary rock in the south-east sea of Ceylon, 
is still called Havana's fort. 

Sita's name lives in Ceylon in Sita- 
talawa (Sita's plain) and Sita-Ela (Sita's 

* A second commotion is ascribed to the age of Pandarvasa 
B.C. 504, and the subsidence of the shore adjacent to Colombo 
:is said to have taken place 200 years later in the reign of 
>ev>entipiatissa, B. C. 306.-^(Tennent). 


" m 2 ^ to : k ' <si.a- s pond) 

where sh 
Ravana, and k 

-waka (Avissa-wella). 

CevlJnl earii ? t J Indian tradition about 
Ceylon is recorded in the Skanda Purana 

the story of the rise and fall of a mighty and 
wicked Trtan far whose overthrow Ska/da or 
Karhkeya, the god of war and wisdom, wa^ 
incarnated. .The echoes of that con tet live 
a remote forest shrine in the south-ea teJn 
G^l the ^ d ' cal ^after him Kartikeya 
Grama, or Katagagama, where, after his 
victory, he wooed and won a . chieftain's 

with him the 

nrn r a P Ur ^ of the 

snrme proudly clami kinship. 

rhr - h f ^ St historical e vent recorded in the 
chromcles is the landin of Wirav 

of ! he erst known d ^ astv 

B C. K 3SSigned to 


in iheNpeylon histories that the name Sinkala 
-originated with Sinha Bahu, the father of King 
Wijaya, who landed in Lanka 548 B. C. is not 
correct, because the name Si&hala is men- 
tioned in the Mahabharata which was com- 
posefci at least 700 years before the landing 
of Wijaya-in Ceylon. You will find the name 
-Sinhala in Sabha Parva p. 49,, Gangs of the 
-Sirihalas, Chap. 52, v. 36. * Chiefs of the 
-Siiihalas and the aboriginal tribes of Lanka*, 
and in Vana Parva, p. 76, Chap. 51, vv. 22-6. 

"In ancient .Tamil classics Sinhala is men-* 
tioned as one of the seventeen countries lying 
.around Tamilaham or the homeof theTamils/* 
""'Taprobane, Tampapanni ( cotoer 
coloured) or . Tamraparani .(tamra varui^a= 
-copper water) so-called by some ea^ly Tamil 
:.settlers from Soutliern India who aJrivedr in 
Ceylon and called it alter the ritt^ir in the 
Tinnevelly district.* 9 * 

* The contention t!^Tambapanni t means 
"the Red Land is \stipported by the Chinese 
name of Ceylon, Snychoo.. which means the 
.red lanj|4 

SiB^merson Ten nent p writes : * A peculia- 
rity -vhicllfeis one of th<| first to strike a 
stranger who lands at Galled or Colombo is the 
bright red colour of the streets and roads con- 
irasUntf vividlv with the verdure.of the trees. 


The name Zeilau occurs in Gene is, 
chap, viii of ttfe Saxjiaritan Pentateuch, he 
antiquity of whi^fi is referred to the reigi of 
Rchoboam B. C. 075-958. Tarshishhas bt *i,. 
by European scholars identified with lie 
modern Point de Galle in Ceylon. 

The name Ham is a pure Tamil name of 
this island of gems, on account of its re] n- 
tation for gold or toddy. Megasthenes cl s~ 
cribes this island * as being divided by a 
river into two sections, the one infested y 
wild beasts and elephants, and the other pi >- 
ducing gold and gems. 

Ceylon is also known ta the Tamils & 
Ponnagar or golden city. 

Thennai, .Thenku, Thenna-maram- < I 
mean tree -of the South , and the Tamil expre - 
sion Illatttt Tenkay, confirms this theor . 
There is a general belief among the Indiai >' 
that the Shanars of ihe Tinnevelly district a; 5 
members of the Chancldo community < : 
Ceylon and that they were induced to imm - 
grate to India, -at the' time of the introductio 
of the cocoanut palm by conferring on the; 
chiefs such titles as Nadars, gramani, etc 
T|iese Shanars have been known in India a 
Ilfckulattu Shanar (Shanar of the Ceylo 
tribe) as we read in the Peria Purana" (S. \/V